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Review of One Bowl by Penny Harter

Snapshot Press

Recently, I was invited to write a review of Penny Harter’s first eBook, One Bowl, published by UK Publisher, Snapshot Press. I had my original hesitations, which I explain in depth in the opening paragraph of the review, but after the first reading of the collection, I knew I was in the presence of something extraordinary.

Snapshot Press have made their eBooks available for free on their website in both flash and pdf formats, and I cannot recommend highly enough that you visit the site and download a copy. With all the recent talk of beauty on this site, this is work that will make your heart ache and sing in equal measure.

Here is a section from the review:

Penny Harter is one of our finest living writers and teachers of Japanese forms. With four previous collections and numerous anthology appearances, it was a thrill to spend time with this new body of poems. Harter’s work has previously been described as “direct, lyrical, light-filled” (Catherine Doty) with the power to remind us that “the wheel of existence rolls onward, and we with it, no matter what comes” (Susan Tweit). These descriptions are true of the work in One Bowl.

Written following the passing of her husband, William J. Higginson, One Bowl is an exploration of life’s fragilities. The opening poem, “Estell Manor State Park,” leads us deep into a gray day, where “oaks arced full over trails that faded into green or snaked into a density of swamp and lichened trunks.” As we walk down that trail, a dead limb is tossed “full weight” at our feet and we are left to ask, what if . . . as our heartbeat quickens. It is this moment that opens the reader up to the thinness of life that resonates in Harter’s poems.

You can read the review here and download a copy of the book here. I don’t feel you will be at all disappointed. In fact, I would love to hear your thoughts…



Filed under poetry & publishing

Review published at Haibun Today

I recently had the pleasure of reading and reviewing Steven Carter’s latest haiku/haibun collection, Pillars of Fire. Excitingly, this review is now online and available to read. Here’s a section from the review:

Opening poem “Errand” is a fine example of Carter’s taut, incisive prose. Like many of the haibun in this collection, the subject matter is unsettling. “Errand” invites the reader to enter a moment between son and father-in-law, a man described by Carter as “blunt and crude.” In this moment, the son is asked to help drown a litter of kittens, a job he finds no joy in, but does not refuse, subtly illustrating the power imbalance in the relationship. As the moment unfolds, the son is handed a burlap sack to collect the kittens and then after a silent drive to the reservoir, the father-in-law asks, “Want to do it?” And in these four words, the tension of the poem is masterfully brought to a crescendo. The younger man, seeing this as a test, a strange initiation, tosses the bag “dead centre in the reservoir” and watches it disappear . . . only to turn and see his father-in-law, “leaning on the flat-bed, back turned, pretending to look assiduously into the distance.”

You can read the full review here and order the book online here: www.albapublishing.com

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Filed under poetry & publishing